Underground oil tanks: the hidden dangers

Underground oil tanks: the hidden dangers

Whether you are looking to buy a property that has an underground oil tank or you live somewhere with one, you should be aware of the risks involved, especially if the tank is no longer in use.

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If a tank is in use, there has been a requirement for regular inspection and rigorous enforcement of regulations, so there is no need to worry. However, an unused tank that has not undergone proper tank decommissioning could make it almost impossible to sell your property, cause physical damage, or lead to environmental damage that can be costly to repair.

What are the dangers?

The most obvious danger of an unmaintained underground tank is collapse, which can cause a visible sinkhole and substantial damage to anything around it. Potentially more dangerously, a collapse could leave an area of your property with a large void underneath it, lurking invisibly and possibly causing serious injury.

A less dangerous alternative that is still incredibly unpleasant is a tank leaching oil into the ground and groundwater nearby. At best, this will require thousands of pounds of repair before the tank can be decommissioned. At worst, a leaking tank could contaminate groundwater, costing tens of thousands of pounds to remedy.

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Lastly, and least devastating, an unused tank that has not been properly decommissioned can cause many lenders to shy away from giving a mortgage on the property due to the risks involved, which could mean not being able to buy your dream home, being unable to sell a piece of property, or having to settle for a substantial undervalue.

What can I do about it?

If there is an unused tank on your property, the best thing you can do is contact a tank decommissioning expert such as http://www.ashremediation.co.uk/tank-decommissioning/ as soon as possible. Decommissioning is fairly quick and extremely inexpensive compared to any of the alternatives.

Even if something minor is going wrong with your underground tank, getting it fixed and decommissioned or removed sooner rather than later will likely save you money in the long run and will certainly contribute to your peace of mind. The same experts who provide decommissioning services can also advise on repair or removal, along with any remedial works that are needed to make sure you don’t run into any nasty surprises down the line.

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